Region: 2 - UK
Length: 325 minutes
Japanese 5.1 Surround
She's a thief. A killer. A saint and a scandal. She's whatever you need her to be to get the job done. After sizing you up with one sinful glance, she disarms you with a touch. You're powerless to resist. She's walking seduction, with an insatiable itch for the priceless and a fetish for mischief. She takes your breath away to get what she wants. She takes everything else just because she can. It's all in a night's work for the woman called Fujiko Mine. She's the slinky, sultry thread that holds Lupin III's crew together - and this is the heist that started it all.
Lupin III is an icon of anime. He's a larger than life model of mischief and mayhem. Whether you are a fan of the Castle of Cagliostro, the original TV anime or the works of Manga-ka Monkey Punch, he is character known to the wider world as a master thief, daredevil and a ladykiller.
Frequently found together are his "comrades" sharp shooter Jigen Daisuke, the skilled swordsman Goemon and the fabulous Mine Fujiko. She is the epitome of the femme fatale and yet her allure has never been so bare or more brazen than in the most recent anime adaptation of the Lupin III franchise.
The series is perhaps the most visually faithful – or at least evocative – of Monkey Punch's manga. It is incredibly erotic in a way that no former adaptation has been but this again is utterly in keeping with the sexual content of the original. It also has a style that is refreshing in the midst of clean anime lines and shiny sweet moe heroines. As it is so visually unique, the series may alienate those who seek the familiar face of modern anime. The colours as muted, the motion is dynamic and the lines are alive like the very best sketches - perfectly crosshatched, culminating in a delight of animation spectacle. There's a little of the film noir here but also a great tribute to the art of its time – the 1960s.
In the series Lupin III is a side player in the wider web of Fujiko. The story tells of her initial encounters with the other characters, from Jigen to Inspector Zenigata. With the manga being frustratingly unavailable in English since the demise of the publisher Tokyopop, the series is a rare delight for adding an extra dimension to the experience of the Lupin III universe. Each episode is a new adventure, of Fujiko forging a new confidence to trick and betray those foolish enough to trust her.
There is an intriguing and sinister mystery that resides beneath the glitz and glamour of the gorgeous female thief. An overwhelming sense of tragedy and foreboding haunts her dreams and every step. There is a hypnotic thread sewn through the story that pulls the viewer through every episode until the conclusion.
Zenigata is joined by a character unique to this series – his devoted deputy, a bishonen called Oscar. He is a great bit of eyecandy to counteract the carnival of female flesh and will be a pleasure for fans of yaoi and boys' love to watch.
Of the anime of 2012, and the releases of 2013 it is certainly one of my top recommendations. Old mixed with new, a new perspective and a new portrait of some of the legendary characters of anime. With its female director Yamamoto Sayo (whose former direction was on the acclaimed Mitchko to Hatchin) is unlikely to be similar to anything you have seen before from Lupin or beyond.
Fabulous designs, Fujiko is achingly beautiful and shows enough skin each episode to ensnare the interest of her adversaries and the viewers! There is deception, misdirection and mystery – it is a satiating cocktail of adventure and drama with the delicious aftertaste of the erotic.